This year should not be much different. The first cut of rough at Winged Foot should be around 3½ inches, and that’s only on the holes where there is a first cut. On most holes, the golfers who miss the narrow fairways can forget about such a forgiving notion and start chopping out from a rough of five inches or more that will swallow balls and Arnold Palmer cans alike:
Then there are the greens, which rise above the fairways like minor mountain ranges and feature numerous false fronts and elevation changes.
Basically, prepare for carnage.
“Plus-8, plus-8, plus-8 … that’s what I’ve been thinking,” Steve Rabideau, Winged Foot’s director of golf courses, said this week in reference to his hoped-for winning score, one shot worse than Irwin’s in 1974.
All times Eastern.
TV and streaming
Thursday: Golf Channel, 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m.; NBC, 2 p.m.-5 p.m., Peacock (streaming), 5 p.m.-7 p.m.
Friday: Peacock (streaming), 7:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m.; Golf Channel, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.; NBC, 4 p.m.-7 p.m.
Saturday: Peacock (streaming), 9 a.m.-11 a.m.; NBC, 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
Sunday: Peacock (streaming), 8 a.m.-10 a.m.; Golf Channel, 10 a.m.-noon; NBC, noon-6 p.m.
Peacock is NBCUniversal’s new streaming service and will be free for the duration of the tournament for those who sign up here.
In addition, the U.S. Golf Association will offer featured group and featured hole coverage at USOpen.com, the U.S. Open app and the U.S. Open streaming app. NBC’s coverage will stream at NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app, though a subscription is required.
Temperatures approaching 80 on Thursday give way to forecasts in the mid-60s the rest of the weekend, with little if any rain expected. There will be a touch of breeze the last three days, most predominantly on Friday.
All odds via DraftKings.
It’s been a two-horse race for the tour’s post-pandemic MVP. Dustin Johnson (+850 to win the U.S. Open) has three wins — including the Tour Championship — along with a solo second and a tie for second since the restart. Jon Rahm (+900) has two wins and two other top 10s. Johnson has one major win, the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont, with six top 10s but no wins in Grand Slams since then. Ten years younger, Rahm has finished no worse than a tie for 13th in six of the past nine majors and is primed to win one sooner or later.
PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa (+1700) is one of the tour’s best off the tee and on approach, and his issues with his putter could be masked in a tournament where everyone might have issues with their putters.
Down the board
There might be a few questions about Webb Simpson’s (+2800) length off the tee, but few hit it straighter, a key asset this week with the rough the way it is. Oh, and he has a U.S. Open win in 2012. … Hideki Matsuyama (+3500) will never, ever win a putting contest (he ranks 170th in strokes gained: putting entering the tournament), but he’s missed only one cut in seven U.S. Open appearances and ranks second in strokes gained: tee to green. … Take away four missed cuts at majors in 2017 — a lost season for the Englishman — and Tyrrell Hatton (+4000) has finished in the top 10 in five of his last 10 grand slam appearances. If he can keep his head, Hatton’s well-rounded game could finally pay off.
Matthew Fitzpatrick (+6000) has performed his best on the tour’s toughest courses this season, finishing in a tie for ninth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, third at the Memorial at Muirfield Village and in a tie for sixth at the BMW Championship at Olympia Fields. He’s never missed the cut at the U.S. Open, either. … Harris English (+7000) checks off a lot of statistical boxes and has top 20 finishes in six of his last eight tournaments. … Brendon Todd (+8000), Chez Reavie (+11000) and Kevin Streelman (+15000) won’t wow anyone with their distance off the tee, but they have the accuracy to at least contend. Todd also ranks third on the PGA Tour in scrambling (2006 Winged Foot winner Geoff Ogilvy was third in that category at that year’s U.S. Open).
What about Tiger Woods?
Woods missed the cut the last time the U.S. Open was played at Winged Foot in 2006, admitting this week that he was not prepared to play in that event, his first after his father died. It was the first cut he missed as a professional. This year, Woods (+4500 to win) has labored through back issues, finishing no better than a tie for 37th since the tour’s post-coronavirus restart. Winged Foot may be too much of a beast for Woods to tame, at least in his current form at age 44.
* starts on 10th tee
Thursday tee time
Friday tee time
Brandon Wu, Curtis Luck, Ryan Fox
Joel Dahmen, Rasmus Hojgaard, J.T. Poston
Ricky Castillo (a), Brian Harman, Andy Sullivan
Chez Reavie, Sung Kang, Kevin Streelman
Tom Lewis, Preston Summerhays (a), Jason Kokrak
Jazz Janewattananond, Kevin Na, Matt Wallace
Martin Kaymer, Jimmy Walker, John Augenstein (a)
Brendon Todd, Harris English, Davis Thompson (a)
Tyler Duncan, Thomas Detry, Erik van Rooyen
Paul Waring, Victor Perez, Christiaan Bezuidenhout
Tyrrell Hatton, Henrik Stenson, Danny Willett
Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth
Webb Simpson, Sergio Garcia, Jason Day
Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas, Tiger Woods
Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Justin Rose
Matt Kuchar, Lucas Glover, Graeme McDowell
Ian Poulter, Patrick Cantlay, Steve Stricker
Charles Howell III, Ryo Ishikawa, Max Homa
Adam Hadwin, Mackenzie Hughes, Corey Conners
Kurt Kitayama, Robert MacIntyre, Sandy Scott (a)
Sebastian Munoz, Chun An Yu (a), Justin Harding
Eddie Pepperell, Troy Merritt, Sami Valimaki
Scott Hend, Dan McCarthy, Ryan Vermeer
Shaun Norris, Rory Sabbatini, Chan Kim
Richy Werenski, Taylor Pendrith, Renato Paratore
Adam Long, Eduard Rousaud (a), Mike Lorenzo-Vera
Jim Herman, John Pak (a), Thomas Pieters
Lukas Michel (a), Lucas Herbert, Matt Jones
Michael Thompson, Andrew Putnam, Chesson Hadley
Ryan Palmer, Si Woo Kim, Rafa Cabrera Bello
Bernd Wiesberger, Marc Leishman, Cameron Smith
Joaquin Niemann, Sungjae Im, Cameron Champ
Lee Westwood, James Sugrue (a), Bubba Watson
Gary Woodland, Andy Ogletree (a), Shane Lowry
Mattthew Fitzpatrick, Daniel Berger, Branden Grace
Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Tony Finau
Tommy Fleetwood, Kevin Kisner, Abraham Ancer
Phil Mickelson, Paul Casey, Jon Rahm
Louis Oosthuizen, Zach Johnson, Keegan Bradley
Rickie Fowler, Matthew Wolff, Viktor Hovland
Billy Horschel, Xander Schauffele, Brandt Snedeker
Romain Langasque, Davis Riley, Will Zalatoris
Shugo Imahira, Byeong Hun An, Takumi Kanaya (a)
Matthias Schwab, Cole Hammer (a), Alex Noren
Danny Lee, Mark Hubbard, Lanto Griffin
Connor Syme, Paul Barjon, Marty Jertson
Stephan Jaeger, Lee Hodges, Adrian Otaegui